Lesson: Theme in Song Lyrics

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Lesson Objective

Students will be able to identify the theme, moral or lesson in a text.

Lesson Plan

5th Grade
RL 3.4 – Theme
Standard : RL 3.4
Narrative Analysis of Grade-Level-Appropriate Text: Understand that theme refers to the meaning or moral of a selection and recognize themes (whether implied or stated directly) in sample works.
I. Desired Outcome
By the end of the period, students will be able to identify the message/moral of four different popular songs and support their choice with evidence with at least 75% accuracy.
II. Evidence of Learning
-student participation in discussion of songs
-4 question quiz with support for answers
III. Opening the Lesson
A. Activity to open the lesson ideally:
 1. Motivates and engages students,
 2. Either assesses prior knowledge or explicitly builds on prior knowledge/life experiences/interests – for example, “Do Nows”
 3. States the objective of the lesson.
B. How long will the opening take?
C. Consider Blooms Taxonomy/Ask good questions (Knowledge, Understanding, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, Evaluation)
Good readers are able to think deeply about the things they read and identify the theme of the text. This is sort of like the main idea of a nonfiction text, except the difference is that in a fiction text the author won’t always come right out and tell you what the theme is: you have to use clues from the text to figure it out. 
We’ve discussed how writers often write with the intention of teaching their readers a moral or lesson. Today we will practice finding that message or lesson by listening to music. Not all writers write books. Song writers come up with the words for songs and they often have important messages they want to express through music. 
Today, I’m going to play a few songs for you that you may have heard before. After we listen to each song, we’ll try to figure out what the theme or message of the song is and look for evidence in the lyrics that are good clues for this theme. 
(4-5 minutes)
IV. Instruction and Modeling – What is the teacher doing?
A.What are you going to teach and how? (Will you provide relevant information, model thought processes, establish guides or graphic organizers, etcetera?)
B.How will you differentiate instruction? (small groups, guided math, guided reading, guided writing, literature circles, etc)
C..How long will each activity take?
D. Consider Blooms Taxonomy/Ask good questions (Knowledge, Understanding, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, Evaluation)
E. Consider Newmann’s Rigor
Have the students read the lyrics to “The Climb” before listening to it together as a class. When you play the song, have the students follow along with the printed lyrics.
Begin a class discussion about possible themes/messages:
What is the title of this song?
Why did they select that as the title?
What words or phrases do you notice are repeated the most often?
What are the most important lines in this song?
How do you think the song writer was feeling when he/she wrote this song?
Can you connect this song to your own life?
What message did the songwriter want to express with this song?
Why couldn’t the theme be….?
Repeat for second song. Discuss possibility of multiple themes. Repeat for second song.
 (15 minutes)
V.Guided Practice – What are the students doing?
A.What will students do to interact and practice the subject matter? 
B. How will you differentiate instruction? 
C.What sorts of groupings will you use?
D.How long will each activity take?
Break students into groups of 4-5. Play third and fourth songs and give students time to discuss possible themes within these groups. Circulate and pose above questions to different groups. You may want to record the following sentence stems on the board to guide group discussions.
“The most important words and phrases in this song are …”
“The songwriter wanted to teach the listeners…”
“The message of this song is…
“I know this is the message because…”
(15 minutes)
VI. Independent Practice
The students will now complete the 4 multiply choice quiz questions and justify their choice in a sentence.
VIII. Closing the Lesson
Have students explain to their partner what theme means. Ask students to give examples of theme based on popular movies or stories you have read previously in class. 
1. What went well?
2. What would you change?
3. What needs explanation?
The mix of songs and genres was very engaging for my students.
To save time, I didn’t do the small group discussions of theme. I wish I had included that so that more students could have participated.
Set firm guidelines before beginning the songs. We had to clarify that it was not sing-a-long time, but that we were focusing on the lesson.

Lesson Resources

Themed Song Lyrics   Activity
Wolf text by Becky Bloom   Reading Passage


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